Hebrews 2:18 (King James Version)
What is it that you are tempted with the most? For some, it could be as harmless as watching certain movies or t.v shows; while for others it could be as harmful as overeating, sexual immorality, or drug use. Regardless of what it is, every single person, including followers of Jesus Christ, are tempted with something.
Before continuing, I want to make something very clear. I believe that many people are confused about the difference between temptation and sin. Many claim that being tempted with something is the same as stumbling into sin.
That is not the case. Even Jesus was tempted when He was in the Wilderness forty days and forty nights; does that mean that the Savior of the world was a sinner like us? Certainly not; the Bible is very clear that Jesus was without sin and therefore a suitable sacrifice to atone for all sin.
So if temptation is not sin, then what is it? I believe that temptation is a gateway to sin. It attempts to draw people to opening the gate, by touching the core of our human desires. Those desires include, but are not limited to, relationships, comfort, happiness, and control.
The Lord promises to meet all our needs. However many think that God takes too long to fulfill His provision. That is where temptation comes in. It claims to offer people a short cut to the things they want and deceives them into thinking that they do not need to seek God for their needs.
This of course is a lie produced by the father of lies, Satan. Those who have yielded to temptation learn the hard way that there no such thing as a short cut to the provisions of the Lord. Instead of getting our needs met more quickly, listening to our temptations often slows the process down; making us wait even longer for them. We could get the things that we need from the Almighty, if only we are patient and trusting Him alone.
Now we recognize that yielding to temptation is not the best way to go, nevertheless, it is very difficult to resist its call. Its call is a lot like a hot flame; like moths we are drawn to its beautiful glow only to find out too late that the flame will burn us if we get too close. This flame is especially brighter when we are physically and mentally spent; so how do we resist the draw of the flame?
Hebrews 2:18 gives us the clue we need. As I mentioned earlier, Jesus Himself was tempted when He was in the wilderness; yet He did not sin. What did Jesus do to resist the temptation flame? In Matthew 4:1-11, when the devil tempted Christ, He countered temptation with Bible Scripture.
Now this quoting of God’s Word was not just a memorization exercise. For Jesus, they were not just words, but they gave Him purpose; a direction, in which He was called to go. He understood that yielding to temptation did not coincide with the purpose which God gave Him; that is how He resisted the fire of temptation.
Hebrews 2:18 tells us that we can overcome our own temptations by looking to Christ to lead us away from them. The fire of temptation is bright, but the light of our Savior is much brighter. Let’s turn away from the flame and follow the light of the Son. When we do this consistently, the temptations become more and more smaller. This will take a great deal of practice, but our Savior is a patient teacher and will guide us all along the way.